HARRISON, N.J. -- The minute Tim Cahill walked out on to the field for the home team at Red Bull Arena, the reality of his move to Major League Soccer hit him.
"As a footballer, you appreciate the stadium, the fans, and you look and you realize this is New York City, this is the New York Red Bulls," said Cahill after a 2-1 loss to Tottenham on Tuesday. "This is a new chapter in my life and I wanted to take it in and enjoy it."
Cahill had a strong performance in his 45 minute debut for New York, which used its third Designated Player spot on the former Everton man earlier this month. The attacking midfielder received a nice through ball from Dax McCarthy and drew a foul in the penalty box, which Kenny Cooper converted in the eighth minute.
Cahill lined up primarily in the central midfield, in front of two holding midfielders in Teemu Taino and Dax McCarthy. The Australian was allowed to play freely, often advancing with the forwards. Cahill expects that he will be more comfortable with the team when he finally starts practicing with the squad on Wednesday.
Despite surrendering two goals in the second half, Cahill likes what he has seen from the Red Bulls so far. Once the team gels, the 32-year-old believes the team has plenty to work with as it is in the second half of the MLS season.
"It was a really solid performance and that's what we need to look at and that's what we need to build on," Cahill said.
Although Brad Friedel didn't play in Tottenham's victory, the 41-year-old is impressed with the Red Bulls' acquisition Cahill.
"He's going to have build his fitness, but New York has signed a very good player in Tim Cahill. I know he's not very tall in stature but he's really quick and powerful in the air," Friedel said. "He play in three or four positions as well."
Friedel believes that Cahill will leave a strong impression in the locker room, saying that the Australian international is an ideal role model for some of the team's younger players.
"On top of that, he's a really nice person so he's going to fit in with all of the players," said Cahill. "He'll be one of those guys who will be able to help the American players. He's a really good guy."
With the addition of a third DP, the pressure is on New York to at least reach the MLS Cup final. Friedel claims that any team in New York and Los Angeles has heightened expectations.
"I think whenever you build a team with stars like you have in New York and in LA as well, you're expected to win," he explained. "So I think the pressure is always going to be on New York city and LA."
He added, "From growing up here and what I remember, if you don't do well in New York, the fans let you know about it."
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